It has been quite some time since we've seen a young pitching prospect excel well enough in the rotation to secure a spot long-term. This season, David Buchanan is fighting for a spot as a starter behind Hamels, Lee, Harang and Williams. Chad Billingsley is also set to compete once he returns from injury.
Back in 2013, Jonathan Pettibone had the opportunity to become a back-end rotational guy, but a right shoulder injury in July of that season has limited the 24-year-old right-hander to just 35.1 innings and seven starts since. In June of 2014, Pettibone opted for surgery to repair his shoulder issues and enters spring training this season on the road to recovery. Pettibone spoke with Todd Zolecki of Phillies.com about his progress heading into the first week of games in Clearwater.
"It's a little tight just grinding through these past couple days -- starting to throw bullpens, stretching out my long toss and everything," Pettibone said on Saturday at Bright House Field. "It's come along great. We haven't had any setbacks, so that's definitely a positive."
"Anytime after surgery, you're kind of uneasy about the whole situation," said Pettibone. "But I've been kind of staying positive."
In 18 starts for the Phillies in 2013, Pettibone went 5-4 with a 4.04 ERA. According to Zolecki, he's planning to throw his third bullpen session today and will likely stay in Clearwater once the season begins to get some work in at the lower levels before heading north to join Triple-A Lehigh Valley.